Life/Parenting Lessons: Why I Enrolled My Daughter in Kumon Philippines

The Battle for My Daughter to Take Up Kumon Lessons Up Head —  A few days ago, my naughty husband sent the following photo to my mother, who is a doting grandmother to my 5-year old daughter, Aeva:

On the photo, Aeva fell fast asleep on top of her Kumon worksheets. Apparently, she was doing some reading exercises, and maybe because writing can be quite boring, she fell asleep.

Aghast to seeing her favorite granddaughter exhausted, my mother has been trying to contact me over the last 5 days, nagging me to have Aeva stop studying Kumon during the lockdown and to have her rest.

She would text me, “Tina, please, no Kumon next week muna. Whatever it is, it has a negative effect. She will no longer enjoy doing it. She is being forced to do it every day. Aeva is graduating senior (kindergarten). She needs the energy, assurance, love, and help. Let her breathe. She is very good on a lot of other activities naman, and we are proud of her, diba? Please omit this horrible Kumon!!!”

What is Kumon?

Kumon is a 60-year home-based educational system that helps sharpen the students’ ability and teaches them how to study on their own.

During the lockdown, Aeva is taught a single concept either in math or in reading for 30 minutes, twice a week, and is then given worksheets to answer. On my count, that’s 10-pages of worksheet for each subject of reading and math every day. The task of students finishing such worksheets with their parents every day makes the answering habitual, thus teaching a child several life lessons which I will explain later.

People think it’s a tutoring program but it’s not.

Instead, teachers are there to to only guide the child to learn a concept, and then the students now move at their own pace. Many children end up studying far beyond their school grade level, an average of 3 years advance if you do it correctly.

However, as per her sleeping photo above, it can be kind of tiring in the beginning. It’s also most likely my fault. When she first started on her first two weeks, Aeva was doing worksheets that were more colorful and far easier.

My daughter was breezing through the pages and answering them within seconds. She was so fast in finishing. Hence, my assessment was that the exercises were just too easy for her. After expressing my concern to the teacher that the exercises were too easy, Kumon Ortigas Center then gave us Aeva’s next batch of worksheets, which were a level harder than the first.

So in truth, my 5-year old was answering exercises at a slightly higher level than her age. And while she can answer the exercises competently, it took her a little while longer to finish the second batch of exercises. It was not like she was breezing through them in seconds, so I guess the pace was now just right for her.

Here were the sample of the worksheets that Aeva and I tackled two weeks ago.

Here are her math worksheets:

And here are her reading worksheets:

This is the type of worksheets we answer nightly. Aeva started just last mid February and is now currently in her second month of Kumon. Every night, we go through 10 pages of each subject’s worksheets together.

How Much Do I Have to Pay for the Kumon Online Class?

Honestly speaking, I found the prices of Kumon Philippines to be reasonable. On a one-on-one class the monthly fee was:

  • Security Deposit Per Subject: Php 2,000
  • Monthly Fee Per Subject (Including of Worksheets and Materials): Php 2,000.00

The center will assess your children’s intelligence before assigning her a level. The classes were 2x a week, and if done in the center, would usually last 30 minutes per subject for a total of one hour. These physical visits would allow the instructor to personally observe their students, and them assess if the students are ready to move onto new concepts. It also allows the Instructor to provide guidance when necessary.

One key to learning in the Kumon Program is making mistakes. Every worksheet is graded, and students must correct their mistakes until they achieve 100%. Evaluating how well a student can correct their mistakes is a major component of an Instructor’s lesson plan.

However, since we are under COVID-19 and all classes was facilitated via Zoom, Aeva’s class is around 20 minutes per subject. Given the pandemic, my daughter has not yet met her teacher face-to-face and all worksheets are exchanged back and forth at the end of every week. Yes, you would have to return the worksheets at the end of every 2 weeks.

Once again, as Kumon is not a tutoring service, the Kumon teacher will only focus on teaching the child the fundamental skills on the time allotted, and then leave the child to finish their worksheet on their own at home.

The Ultimate Value of Kumon

After 1.5 months of doing Kumon, I can so far see its value. A strong element of Kumon is that it teaches kids the following values, which strengthen their character and attitude towards learning:

  • Learning continues throughout the student’s day, and through life into adulthood:  Establishing a routine of a little bit of Kumon each day develops into a healthy learning lifestyle. Studying does not stop after the school bell rings. Instead, it continues thrughout the day.
  • Practice makes perfect: Daily practice is one of the central features of the Kumon Program.
  • Strong study habits are built: By practicing consistently, students build concentration and strong study habits that can follow into their adult lives. The Kumon Instructor creates a lesson plan that is set at a comfortable pace and individualized for each child.
  • It bonds the parent and child and you can actually monitor their intellectual progress: At least that’s what I feel when I sit beside her every night and help her finish her worksheets.

By practicing consistently, students build concentration and strong study habits that can follow into their adult lives.

The Famous Battle of Kumon: A Little Night of Screaming and Crying Horror 

My daughter just turned 5 last December, and just like that — She has learned to successfully argue with her mother like a boss. Her strategy was to kulit us until we give in, as if her relentless call for attention would work.

However, for the moments that she does not get her way, the daughter has resorted to sulking and writhing on the floor, crying aloud, until she gets her way.

This is how she’s treating her Kumon Classes with me in the evening. If she does not want to do it anymore, she will cry, scream and melt on the floor in the hopes that I will given in.

Two weeks ago, my daughter started crying when I was helping her finish her Kumon exercises. I was super exhausted after getting back from work and took a nap. And hence, we had to start the worksheet slightly later in the evening after a day’s worth of play.

True to her nature, my daughter did not want to finish the exercises, and thought that crying, sulking and pouting would melt my heart like it did her grandmother, and we would abandon our nightly adventure to finish the exercise books.

I knew my daughter’s study schedule, so I knew there was a big chunk of the day that she was playing and YouTubing.

Her yaya was trying to make her finish her exercises earlier in the day, but the daughter would act bored, distracted and angry, which left the bulk of the work to me, the poor sap, who had to make sure she finishes her daily set of worksheets.

I am not a good mother then. I know she is only 5 years old, but got a bit annoyed at her for acting out to try to escape her responsibilities. I knew that my daughter could finish the exercises, but would hee, haw and make a fuss so that the adults would lose their patience and let her play and rest. I had little patience for such kaartehan, and I did not want us to leave the workroom until we were done.

So I told my daughter, “I work so hard throughout the day and I’m so tired that I have to take a short nap in the evening just to have energy. I know that you were playing most of the day and you had a chance to finish the workbooks with yaya, but chose not to. Now, we have to finish these worksheets because you did not finish them earlier today.”

Yes, it’s harsh but I meant every word I said. By that time, it was late and I was truly annoyed. In fact, I was ready to give up.

“Look, if you want to give up, we should. I don’t think it’s fair for me to go to work, pay for your tuition and then force you to study so that I can help you become smart and outstanding,” I sermoned her. “If you really hate Kumon, I will give you a choice and stop the program. Then you can spend the entire day and night to play and Youtube. Bahala ka na sa buhay mo and it’s up to you to study when you want to study.”

My daughter is quite competitive and ayaw magpatalo. 

This was a girl who cried at 3 years old when the teacher took out a star for her bad behavior. During the same year, she also cried aloud when she got less than outstanding. So yes, reverse psychology does work on her, but sa totoo lang, at that point, I was really just tired of sitting down while pregnant, and forcing a kid to study.

Kung ayaw niya, edi huwag. I won’t die if I rest comfortably in bed and sleep early.

Upon hearing my words, my little girl cried aloud for a good 10 to 15 minutes.

I went to pack up so that I can rest in my comfortable bed and there she was on the floor, shouting, crying and screaming. You thought somebody had killed our pet dog and she was grieving her death. It was enough to be heard in the other room.

I made the movement to go back to the bedroom to get my much needed rest but this little girl stopped me. She told me that she wanted us to finish her worksheets, and I am not allowed to leave the room until we were done. She made this appeal with her crying face, and I just won’t budge. I am honestly so tired at that point that I would rather just rest.

She once again asked us to stay so we can finish the worksheets. I agreed on the condition that she stop crying and she smile her most beautiful smile while I take her photo so we can send the photo to Jessica.

This was the photo we took after all the drama and 15 minutes of crying and begging on the floor.

Who would have thought that 5 minutes before this photo was taken, this girl’s face was stained with tears and she was on the floor begging for us to finish the worksheets?

The daughter managed to clean herself up and genuinely smile to the camera. Then, after calming herself down she took her pencil and started answering the worksheets. It took her 30 minutes to finish the rest of the worksheets. After we finished answering the worksheets, I packed up and she happily played back in our bedroom as if nothing happened. My husband, who heard us from the bedroom shouting and crying, was a little surprised, but went back watching his TV.

Lessons from the Famous Kumon Battle of March 2021

My mom tells me that my daughter is only 5-years old, and I should actually allow her to just play instead of enrolling her to what I think is one of the best Kindergartens in Manila — Here’s my blogpost about it: Why I Highly Reommend Mother Goose Nursery as a Kindergarten for Metro Manila Kids — and taking ancillary courses like chess, art, dancing, and programming.

This is my explanation to my mom on why it is important for my daughter to finish her Kumon today:

Beyond the concepts she is learning in math and reading, my 5-year old daughter is teaching multiple life lessons from my disciplining her to finish her worksheet exercises. I know many of you may not agree, but these are my thoughts and perspective, so let us just respect each other’s perspectives in raising our own child. However, for me, these are my beliefs on why it’s okay for me for my daughter to scream and cry, until we finish our Kumon:

1. No hold outs: I am teaching my daughter that you get a bigger sense of achievement if you finished something through hard work. The world is raising too many snowflakes who are given awards just by showing up.

No, you do not get a reward for doing something you’re supposed to do. You only get an award if you actually ACHIEVE what you’re supposed to do and be better than everyone else.

2. No, it’s NOT always about you: As you are feeling annoyed sitting on that chair, I too am feeling the uncomfortableness of sitting on the chair with you, guarding you as you finish your work. As I said, I’m the poor sap who works the entire day while my daughter plays in the day time. And then at night, I still have to sit down beside you to “force” you to study, which is for your won good?

Yes, you’re cute. But the world does not always revolve around you. It involves a lot of other people as well, and if you’re dragging your feet in studying, you’re punishing us too.

3. You need to respect the authority figure and the curriculum: I am teaching my daughter that life is not always about what SHE wants. If I allowed my daughter to do what she wants, she will eat whatever she wants, do whatever she wants, and play until the sun sets. To a limit, there is a benefit to being an adult, and that is in loving your child and having the better sense to guide them to be the best person they can be.

So yes, my house, my rules. Also, if you’re in a school or a tutorial program, you need to RESPECT authority and also follow their curriculum. You can dictate to do whatever you want when you study and become an expert, or if you move out. But till then, let us recognize and respect people who are more knowledgeable than you (and love you so that they will place your best interests in mind), and follow them.

4. No excuses: I am teaching my daughter that she can hee and haw, but if there’s a deadline, you have to commit to the deadline and finish it on time.

5. No manipulative emotions: While it’s okay to cry if you’re sad, I will not allow my daughter, to get away from a task at hand by screaming, sulking or crying on the floor. The world owes you no favors, and you should not be taught to get your own way via your victim mentality.

6. Not giving up: There is no sense of victory if you give up. And giving up is habitual. When you get lazy, procrastinate and give up, it becomes a habit. Soon later, you will realize that since you’ve grown the habit of giving up easily whenever you feel like it, you will find yourself giving up more than winnning.

And yes, finishing something AFTER not giving up is a high. It makes all the crying worth it. I hope she makes it a habit of never giving up.

7. No procrastinating or putting things off: You can play and have fun the whole day but you still need to finish your worksheets. If you don’t finish it in the morning, you will be stuck with me finishing it with you at night. Pick your poison.

8. No Work = No Finish: You got to put in the hours to finish something. Life is not a fairytale when you just need to snap your fingers or wave your wand  and things magically appear. You actually have to WORK for it. And if you do not work, you will not finish, leaving us to get stuck sitting on a chair for hours just because you don’t want to do the work.

Magician hand with magic wand

9. No threatening the mother: If I say I will do something, I will do something. If I say I will pull you off schools, I will do it. Do not threaten me because I will stand my ground once I made up my mind. So the question is, what will you do about it?

My help is not a given. It is unfortunately conditional. I am happy to teach you if you want to be taught. But if you do not want to be taught, you are doing me no favors if you want me to force you or cajole you to study. Studying is a choice, and if you don’t want to study, then fail and take the consequences. I should not force you to do something what’s good for you. And if you can’t realize that, that’s not my problem.

And this is why the daughter did not want me to stop her from schooling. She knows that once I say it, I will do it, and she will grow up uneducated and average.

10. There is no glory by being mediocre and average: I don’t honestly care how other people parent their own kids. They can do whatever they want. They can stop their kids from going to school until big school. Your child, your rules. But for my own kid, I find no relief in knowing she’s mediocre and average. There is no glory in that. Hence, if this is one way for me to challenge her and make her be the best person she can be, then so be it. I’ll be happy to be the bad guy if that makes her better.

REAL TALK: Why Am I So Far Forcing My Daughter to Finish Kumon at Such a Young Age? Why Don’t I Just Let Her Play?

My yaya informed me the other day that my daughter can be really stubborn and strong willed. I told her that I knew what my daughter was exactly like, and while I knew that my daughter has a soft gentle heart, I also knew that she was sometimes quite manipulative and will try to get her own way in whatever means possible, including sulking, dragging her feet, crying and screaming.

I told my yaya that while I do not mind that my 5-year old daughter pulls out tantrums if she does not get what she wants at that moment, I do believe that it’s our job as adults who love her, to make my daughter realize that sulking, screaming and crying on the floor will not work in letting her get what she wants. And if she wants something, she should stop crying, and talk to us like a responsible child.

I am okay in negotiating with my child.

For example: “Yes, you can play right now the entire afternoon, but you have to finish your Kumon worksheets later with me without complaint.”

If she talks to me in a proper and respectful way, I will definitely listen to her and take her feelings and thoughts into account. But if she’s going to try to get what she wants done using her way — taking the shortcut by pulling a tantrum — then nobody will budge, nothing will get done, and in the end, she still will NOT get her way.

FINAL SAY: Beyond Academics, It’s Our Job as Parents to Teach Our Children to Be Better Citizens of Society

Love is Saying No When Your Daughter’s Pulling a Tantrum

“We are developing her to a responsible, disciplined adult,” I told our yaya. “She needs to realize that the world does not revolve around her, and beyond the four walls of our house, she holds no power over others. If she wants something for herself, she needs to learn responsibility to finish it by herself, and be accountable for the actions that will mold her life.”

In the end, if we love our kids, we need to teach them the right way, when they are still susceptible to be taught. My daughter is 5 years old, and can still be taught. While she may have different ideas than I do, given her age, she cannot run away. She cannot call authorities like her doting grandmother to save her. And she has no choice but to listen.

I will NOT have just freedom or liberty to discipline her at an older age, say 10 years old, and when she gets to be a teenager and thinks her friends are important, my teachings will have almost zero value to her.

I sincerely believe that IF YOU LOVE YOUR KIDS, you will teach him the right way even if they will hate you and even if it’s tough. Good parents know this, it is more important to know when to say no, than when to say yes. Being wise is differentiating the two.

Again, these are my thoughts in parenting MY child and I take full responsibility on developing her to the adult she will be. If you do not agree, then do not parent my child the same way. Do what you think is right. However, I love my daughter too much to allow her to let her always get her way, let her make bad decisions, let her disrespect authority and stop her from becoming the best person she can be.

So with that, adieu. Like and subscribe to my blog if you like my posts, and let’s talk again soon.

To Contact Kumon Philippines:

Kumon Philippines Facebook Page
Kumon Philippines Website 
Kumon Philippines Monthly Fees 
Kumon Philippines Frequently Answered Questions

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